Love may be a universal language, but we're not sure that phrase includes the sci-fi alien races and fantastical creatures that rule the far depths of the galaxy, who express love in words beyond our human comprehension. When you're thinking of a unique way to woo your valentine this year, plan a tutorial to learn together one of these 14 geeky languages. While several of these Trekkie, Tolkien, or computer gaming-inspired languages have enough depth to warrant a university level class, many are not fully realized, so have fun discovering select words and phrases to bring to future geeky date outings.
- Wookie — Made up of three dialects, the main Wookie language is Shyriiwook. As you'd expect it consists of lots of barks and grunts, but don't you dare say that to Chewbacca. The Star Wars Christmas Special has detailed examples of this mystifying tongue.
- Klingon — The language of Klingons, the sometimes ally of the Federation, is arguably the best known of the imagined star languages. Described by its Hollywood creators as gutteral in tone, dedicated Trekkies maintain the Klingon Language Institue, preserving the galaxy's "fastest growing language."
- Vulcan — Known as the language of Spock, one version of Vulcan looks like musical notes. Much of the language is available online today as Gene Roddenberry was insistent when making Star Trek: The Motion Picture that the Vulcans receive their own linguistic treatment.
- Romulan — As biological cousins of the Vulcans, the Romulan language is difficult to differentiate from Vulcan to the untrained ear. The Central Institute of the Romulan Language ensures you get the right training to one day know the difference.
- Cardassian — Residents of the Alpha Quadrant, Cardassians are a fearsome foe of the Federation. Little is known of their language, maybe because of its rectangular-shaped letters and script.
- Andorian — The blue-skinned moon species from Andora appeared throughout the Star Trek series and would of course show up in the directory of a PADD.
- Elvish — With a background in linguistics study from Oxford, Tolkien did not take the creation of the Lord of the Rings languages lightly. Based on Welsh and English, you can study Liv Tyler's Arwen in the film trilogy for pronunciation and read the many online Elvish resources, including an English to Elvish dictionary.
- Dwarvish — Also called Khuzdul, Tolkien is said to have drawn inspiration for the secret language of the Dwarves from Hebrew, reflecting many of the same sounds and structure. As many Lord of the Rings languages, it's been almost fully realized and you can study up with the Dwarvish dictionary.
Check out even more languages to geek out over after the jump.
- Simlish — The official language of SimNation is said to be just made up nonsense, but play the game long enough and you'll see linguistic trends. Look for the times the Sim people slip in a few words of English.
- Dothraki — Game of Thrones fans may have already picked up a few key words of the nomadic Dothraki people's language on the show, but with over 3,000 words it extends quite further than seen in episodes. Developed by a linguist for the show after the books were written, the fan-created Learn Dothraki website can get you up to speed.
- CSS or HTML or Java — Whatever your career, becoming fluent in these computer languages can only enhance your resume. Take time to grow your skill set and learn how to use these programming tools while also finally building a personal website or blog.
- Parseltongue — Learn the language of the serpents by holding a Harry Potter marathon. Try out the Parseltongue translator, though it sounds an awful lot like wind blowing through the halls of Hogwarts.
- Gelfling — The Gelfling people made a brief but memorable appearance in The Dark Crystal. Only male Gelflings can read their ancient language.
- Na'vi — The language of the planet Pandora residents, the Na'vi people, in Avatar was methodically created by a University of Southern California professor. A free iPhone app and website can teach you the language's syntax rules and pronunciation, which the film's actors also learned.